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Will Smith gets honest about ups and downs in marriage to Jada Pinkett Smith

The "Ali" star peels back the curtain on some of the moments that almost did in the couple.

Will Smith may look like he has it all, but his marriage to Jada Pinkett Smith is hardly a Hollywood fairy tale.

The “Men in Black” star opened up to GQ about the struggles the couple has endured.

In 2011, Smith screened a documentary for their friends and family tracing his wife’s family back generations to when they were slaves. It was a gesture that she did not appreciate.

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith arrive for the Hollywood premiere of "Gemini Man" on Oct. 6, 2019. Albert L. Ortega / Getty Images

“That was the most disgusting display of ego I have ever seen in my life,” Smith said his wife told him. They had an argument that got so heated daughter Willow, who was 10 at the time, walked in with her hands over her ears, pleading with them to stop.

“Our marriage wasn’t working,” Smith writes in an upcoming memoir that GQ’s Wesley Lowery obtained. “We could no longer pretend. We were both miserable and clearly something had to change.”

There were cracks in the marriage long before that, too. Smith, 53, insisted on having a traditional wedding, which his wife, 50, didn’t want.

Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith
It may look like a glamorous relationship, but Will Smith said his marriage to Jada Pinkett Smith has not always been smooth sailing.Eric Charbonneau / AP

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“This would be the first of many compromises Jada would make over the years that painfully negated her own values,” he wrote in his memoir.

She turned down the chance for her band to open for Guns N’ Roses in order for Smith to shoot “The Pursuit of Happyness.” The couple later bought and moved into a 256-acre estate that Pinkett Smith wanted no part of.

“Nothing good comes from spending your hard-earned money on a ‘family home’ that your wife doesn’t want,” Smith wrote. “You are putting a down payment on discord and for years you will be paying off a mortgage of misery. Or, worse.”

Trey Smith, Willow Smith, Jaden Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith
Trey Smith, Willow Smith, Jaden Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith attend the 26th annual EMA Awards at Warner Bros. Studios on Oct. 22, 2016 in Burbank, California.Jason LaVeris / FilmMagic

The couple married in 1997 and are parents to son Jaden, 23, and daughter Willow, 20, while he is also father to Trey, 28, from his previous marriage to Sheree Zampino. Smith says he and Pinkett Smith come from different backgrounds, which helped create a rift in their union.

“Jada never believed in conventional marriage. … Jada had family members that had an unconventional relationship,” Smith told GQ. “So she grew up in a way that was very different than how I grew up. There were significant endless discussions about, what is relational perfection? What is the perfect way to interact as a couple? And for the large part of our relationship, monogamy was what we chose, not thinking of monogamy as the only relational perfection.

“We have given each other trust and freedom, with the belief that everybody has to find their own way. And marriage for us can’t be a prison. And I don’t suggest our road for anybody. I don’t suggest this road for anybody. But the experiences that the freedoms that we’ve given one another and the unconditional support, to me, is the highest definition of love.”

There have also been rumors about infidelity. Pinkett Smith has publicly talked about her relationship with songwriter August Alsina that occurred when she and Smith separated.

“I got into a different kind of entanglement with August,” she said about their relationship during a 2020 episode of her Facebook Watch series, “Red Table Talk.”

“The public has a narrative that is impenetrable,” Smith told GQ about the attempt to clear up the chatter. “Once the public decides something, it’s difficult to impossible to dislodge the pictures and ideas and perceptions.”

And while Pinkett Smith’s extramarital relationship may have taken center stage, Smith says she was not the only one to stray.

“A viewer could have walked away thinking that Jada was the only one engaging in other sexual relationships, when that was not, Smith delicately explained to me, in fact the case,” Lowery wrote, although there was no elaboration.

And while Smith’s personal life has had its ups and downs, his career has remained on target. He can be seen in the upcoming “King Richard” and Apple TV + film “Emancipation.”